The Olympics see first positive case of COVID-19 from an arriving team

A member of Uganda’s Olympic team has tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan.

The first group of Ugandan athletes and their Olympic staff (made up of “a nine-strong party, including boxers, coaches and officials”) have recently arrived in Tokyo ahead of this year’s Olympic Games.

However, one of its members, who is believed to be a coach, tested positive for coronavirus while being screened in Tokyo’s Narita airport. This development marks the first positive case of infection by an arriving team.

Olympic rings
Photo: EPA/BBC News

According to Japanese officials, the positive case immediately headed into quarantine “at a government-designated facility”.

Their colleagues were allowed to leave the airport and head to Osaka in the country’s west, where training for the Olympics is being held.

While there, Japanese officials have said that they will undergo daily tests and will be kept isolated away from the general public.

“I heard the person has been isolated based on regulations,” said Olympic official, Hidemasa Nakamura.

The President of the Ugandan Olympic Committee, Donald Rukare, has already stated that that the coach was displaying no symptoms during their travels.

“The entire Uganda[n] Olympic delegation, which includes 26 athletes and 30 staff, has been fully vaccinated with two shots of AstraZeneca,” explained Rukare.

“Many received their second dose of the vaccine this month, about three months after receiving their first dose.”

All members of the Olympic squad were tested three days before departing the country, with negative results coming back for all of them. It is currently unknown if the coach will be allowed to participate in the Games.

Currently, Uganda is battling their second wave of coronavirus. Having to deal with five strains of the virus (Delta, Eta, Beta, Alpha “and the local strain”), Uganda’s health system is beginning to crumble under the pressure.

It has been reported that there is “an acute shortage of oxygen and intensive care beds” across all hospitals.

Mandela National Stadium, Uganda’s main sporting facility, has already been converted into a medical centre to deal with the sheer number of people becoming infected.

According to CNN, “the first two weeks of June” saw the country’s number of COVID-19 cases increase by 130 per cent, with 19 per cent of tests having positive results.

Many attribute this to the lack of vaccines available.

Last week, the French government donated “75,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine” to Uganda in the hopes that more people will have the chance to be vaccinated.